NBC Code: SERAP Demands Withdrawal Of N5m Hate Speech Fine, Writes Buhari.

By Chinenye Festus:-
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has joined the host of persons and organizations who has spoken against the N5million fine imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM radio station, following the reported comments by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Malafia, during an interview with the station.
In the letter written to the President, the commission asked President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to withdraw the 5million naira fine on hate speech.
SERAP in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “Rather than pushing to enforce a culture to respect president, governors, lawmakers, elders, and other leaders, the Information Minister and the NBC should use their entrusted public office and mandates to promote a culture of public debate, access to information, transparency and accountability in government.”
The statement explained that implementation of the code and the memo would further deter meaningful citizens’ engagement, and have a chilling effect on Nigerians’ human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression and access to information, undermine the idea of representative democracy, as well as make public officials less responsive to the people.”.
It would be recalled that The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) last week reportedly issued a stern warning to journalists and broadcast stations, stating:
“To denigrate our governors, lawmakers, elders, and leaders in abusive terms is not our culture, we respect our leaders as a positive cultural value.
The Commission also said it may be compelled to impose sanctions where stations fail to curb this practice which was exactly what they did with the Lagos based Radio station which they said would be a deterrent to others in the broadcasting business.